President Vladimir Putin's bodyguards mistakenly pushed away a World War II veteran at the Victory Day parade in Moscow. When Putin discovered the mistake, he then invited Major General (Ret) Dmitry Syrkashev (94) to walk along with him. As it turned out, the Russian president and the veteran were old acquaintances.
Syrkashev was a Red Army private when he fought to liberate the Smolensk and Bryansk regions in western Russia from Hitler's Wehrmacht in World War II. Having received a medal for his actions in those operations, he later served in the 1944 Belarus offensive known as Operation Bagration. The veteran told RT about having received wound dúring this engagement, and how he returned to the front only three months later. Syrkashev also fought to liberate Minsk and the Baltics, and in the later months of the war he was promoted to second lieutenant. Once the war in Europe ended, the new Soviet officer was transferred to the Far East to engage the Japanese.
Eventually, Syrkashev was promoted up the line finally achieving the rank of major general. The aging hero had previously spoken with Vladimir Putin at past May 9th ceremonies. The president and the veteran then walked together for a while. "He [the president] asked me about my health," Syrkashev said.
Putin was accompanied Syrkashev to Alexander Garden, where the Russian leader laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier together with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.